I love world building.
If you write any form of speculative fiction, it’s what you do instead of research. Unfortunately for me, it’s what I do as well as research.
In the Multiverse Investigations series, the built worlds are the parallel universes that Alex and Mike travel to. There are going to be at least seven of them. In Murder in the Multiverse, they travel to a version of San Francisco which is incredibly high-tech. Something Alex loves (she’s a geek, after all) until she realizes the high cost that people are paying for it.
I’ve been using a technique I learned from the ‘Five Things That Everyone Knows (In This Culture)’ workshop led by Jeannette Ng at last year’s Sledge Lit writer’s festival. It helps you get to know a world you’re building and the people who live there by imagining five of various things about your imaginary world:
- five things everyone takes for granted
- five ways of insulting someone (think mudblood from Harry Potter)
- five ways to compliment someone
- five beliefs
- five things everyone has an opinion on.
I’ve been identifying lots of ‘five things’ about all my universes, and also thinking about the imagery to capture each of them – see my Pinterest board for some of the images I’ve been collecting.
So the great thing is that for every book in this series, I get to build a new version of San Francisco and sometimes of other places too. Alex is Scottish and I’m sure she’ll take a trip across the Atlantic at some point. I can’t wait!